Have you ever wondered what goes on behind closed doors in a restaurant? Starting tonight, Ben Vaughn will scour restaurants and cafes to find out if they come up to par with today’s health standards in Food Network’s newest show, Health Inspectors. Traveling from Louisiana to states in the Midwest, Ben examines and exposes the infractions of establishments and then teaches the owners, managers and staff the tools and procedures to follow in order to stay in business. Will these struggling establishments survive? Their success will depend on how well they follow the advice of our chef, restaurateur and consultant, Ben Vaughn.
Can you spot an unsanitary restaurant? We chatted with Ben and asked him for five tips that customers should be on the lookout for:
1. Restrooms: Check out the restrooms first. Are they clean? Check the floors. Are paper towels readily available and is the soap dispenser full?
Each year around Halloween I find myself feeling nostalgic for elementary school — for class parties, costume parades on the playground and a plastic pumpkin bursting with candy. I also find myself craving my mom’s honeyed popcorn. It was her signature treat to give to friends and neighbors for the holiday.
After dinner when all the dishes were cleaned and put away, she’d fire up our yellow-and-white air popper and keep it running until she had filled a clean brown paper grocery bag with the popped corn. Once that task was finished, she’d melt butter and honey together into a thick syrup and pour it over the popped corn, using her longest-handled wooden spoon to help stir it all up.
The sweetened corn would then get spread across rimmed cookie sheets and would go into the oven for 10 or 15 minutes, to help set and crisp the kernels. The next day when it was cool, she’d package it up in plastic bags, secured with orange and black twist ties. My sister and I always got small bags in our lunch the day after she made it.
After two hard-fought battles between Chefs Madison Cowan and Lee Anne Wong then Chefs Robert Treviño and Duskie Estes, the Next Iron ChefRoad to Redemption wraps up tomorrow with a third and final Kitchen Stadium showdown, this time between victors Chefs Wong and Estes. The chef whose cuisine reigns supreme will join nine rival chefs in the journey to claim the ultimate culinary title on The Next Iron Chef: Redemption, premiering next Sunday, November 4 at 9pm/8c.
Until the battle begins, however, it seems as though the focus in Kitchen Stadium will be on Road to Redemption host and judge Alton Brown. In this sneak-peek shot from tomorrow’s finale, Alton turns the cameras on himself for a few moments of close-up face time before revealing the Secret Ingredient. Is he simply working on a blooper real, or is this one-man show part of the battle? Will we see the Road to Redemption‘s other judges, Simon Majumdar and Iron Chef Jose Garces, in similar frames?
Before you watch Chefs Wong and Estes face off for Kitchen Stadium glory, we’re challenging you, Next Iron ChefRoad to Redemption fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this moment in the comments below.
Here in Food Network Kitchens, we love simple, classic recipes. We are also paid to think about food all day. So we’ve taken classic foods and drinks and reimagined them into three, four or five different ways. No standard recipes here, just the occasional technique and pictures. Think of it as a picture recipe.
Chances are you’ve picked up your pumpkin to create the ultimate jack-o’-lantern or perfect pie. If that’s the case, then save the seeds. They make a great snack, sweet or savory. Simply remove the seeds from the pumpkin, remove the remaining stringy flesh and lay them out on a parchment paper and let air dry for about 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, pour enough oil to lightly coat the seeds and sprinkle with salt. Spread prepared seeds out on a sheet tray or baking sheet and place in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes. Be careful when removing from the oven as some seeds could pop off the sheet tray. Let cool and serve warm or at room temperature. Here are four more ways to make pumpkin seeds.
I love eating food on a stick. Just the thought of overly salted, grease-saturated and often way-beyond-sweet treats attached to a stick for portable feasting makes me do the happy dance.
Rewind to summer car trips when I was a kid: My parents would load us into a tight compact car (some summers without air conditioning) and drive hundreds of miles seeking state fairs, the mecca of foods on a stick. Growing up in a city as I did, we rarely had an opportunity to indulge in “fair food.” So we would drive and drive with my mom as co-pilot in search of all things yummy. Armed with pockets full of dollar bills, we would hit the fairgrounds running, following the scent of fried anything.
Today, I love making “icles”: fudgesicles, creamsicles and Popsicles (like my Frozen Peanut Butter Pie Pops above). These are the most popular in terms of portable food in my sweet world, but have you ever tried to insert a stick into a piece of pie, then dip it into rich chocolate and roll it into nuts or coconut? Well, here you go:
Living in South Florida, we are all about Key lime pie, which is my favorite. First, make my fast and easy Key lime pie recipe featured here: Key Lime Pie Ice Cream Sandwiches.
When Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis took the stage at New York City’s Times Center, it didn’t take long for these longtime friends and colleagues to start passing playful, well-meaning jabs to one another. The two joined Julia Moskin of The New York Times as part of a series of TimesTalks during the New York City Wine & Food Festival, and what followed was a lighthearted conversation about food, Food Network Star and their early days on the network. Never one to miss a beat, Bobby jokingly told the audience, “As you know, Giada invented Italian food,” while Food Network’s resident Italian superstar took the dig in stride before returning the favor to Bobby. She told the story of how he claimed on national television to have discovered a secret pasta-making strategy, when in fact it was she who deserved the credit.
In no time, their chat turned to the most-recent season of Food Network Star, in which Justin Warner, mentor Alton Brown’s Rebel With a Culinary Cause, scored the most votes from at-home viewers and was crowned Food Network’s newest star. Bobby and Giada, also mentors to teams of Star contenders, looked back on the season and agreed that while other contestants may have turned out better food, Justin “is a talented entertainer” and “has a real chance to make some noise” now that he has claimed the top prize.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, chances are you’re a fan of Sweet Genius, now in its third season. Every Thursday, Master Pastry Chef Ron Ben-Israel tests four of America’s premier pastry chefs through three rounds of intense pastry challenges. The winners from each round advance for a final test, with Ron crowning the remaining chef Sweet Genius and awarding them a $10,000 cash prize. Now Ron wants to give his fans a chance to win a prize: his chef’s coat from the set, autographed.
To enter: Tell us the Food Network dessert recipe you’ve made that made you look like a Sweet Genius (you must include the recipe URL in the comment to qualify). We’re giving away Ron’s autographed chef’s jacket to one lucky, randomly selected commenter.
You’ve got your go-to pumpkin pie recipe stored away in the family vault and your world-famous pumpkin bread recipe hidden underneath your pillow. Who can blame you? These desserts are as fundamental to fall as apple picking, pumpkin patching or mulled apple cider drinking. We wouldn’t dare threaten all that’s tried-and-true, but there’s something to be said for trying something new with pumpkin this season.
Now that pumpkins are in season, go ahead and skip the can. Instead, grab a few sugar pumpkins, roast, puree and then cook ‘em down with loads of spices. Homemade Pumpkin Puree is freezable, so there’s no excuse for not having the fresh stuff on hand. According to HGTV Gardens, the longer a pumpkin rests off the vine, the sweeter it will become — so try and cure your pumpkins for two or more weeks before using.
Test Your Knowledge: FN Stars' Favorite Halloween Candy
Candy rules on Halloween and we all have our favorite Halloween treats. But do you know your favorite Food Network stars' picks? When this sweet holiday rolls around, they can be found eating everything from classic chocolate bars to crazy carbonated candy out of the Halloween stash.
Take this quiz and test your knowledge to see if you’re the ultimate Food Network fan.
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Which Food Network Star winner craves the irresistible combination of peanut and chocolate?
“I’m obsessed with licorice — but real licorice. It bridges the gap between adult and child. I hate candy. Most of it is so unimaginative.” Which Iron Chef said this?
Who craves classic candy corn during Halloween?
This Chopped judge loves the crunch of a Butterfinger:
“All I care about is full-size candy — none of that bite-size nonsense!” Who said this?
This Ohio native’s favorite candy is chocolate-covered raisins:
Giada De Laurentiis
“My favorite Halloween candy is a good old-fashioned chocolate bar. Plus, if I have any leftovers, I can repurpose the plain chocolate bars for recipes — just chop.” Who said this?
This Food Network personality considers homemade candy corn good eats:
Though not commonly found in the Halloween candy stash, the carbonated candy Pop Rocks is still this Iron Chef’s favorite:
Who can be found munching on mini peanut butter cups?
Which Food Network Star winner dubbed the Twix bar his or her favorite Halloween treat?
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Halloween recipe inspiration: Food Network Kitchens turn ordinary foods into freaky Halloween snacks with exclusive and easy-to-do recipe ideas.
Last week FN Dish readers had the chance to submit a question to Alton and Bobby for Thanksgiving Live!, a two-hour call-in show hosted by turkey master Alton Brown on Nov. 18 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. This week, it’s all about Giada De Laurentiis and Aarón Sanchez.
Before the live show starts at noon, Food Network will serve up a three-hour Thanksgiving Live webcast at FoodNetwork.com. Beginning at 11:30am ET, the site will stream a pre-show featuring celebrity chef interviews and behind-the-scenes footage of Alton and the cast preparing for the big day.
Do you have a question specifically for Giada or Aarón? Whether it’s about the way they set their table or a tip for the perfect gravy, we’ll handpick a selection of your questions and ask them live during the pre-show. Leave your question in the comment section below, or submit it via Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag: #ThanksgivingLive.